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Sep 29, 2012 01:43 PM

Phulkari Punjabi Kitchen, Madison Hts [DTW]

Went to Phulkari Punjabi Kitchen, which is north of 11 Mile on Dequindre (27707 Dequindre Rd, by St John’s Oakland Hosp). It took over the old Indo Pak restaurant. Looks grim from the outside but inside is a big, VERY nicely styled counter service set up, where tipping at your table is optional.

I know very little about Indian cuisine, other than that I like it. Even Priya. But for what it’s worth, I find Phulkari very good, particularly for the price. I got the meat thali ($10) and a chaat ($5). Yes, I had plenty of leftovers. The chaat (1st one on menu; name =?) was constructed from extremely fresh ingredients, and clearly was put together by a chef, rather than by someone off the street. Indians always are a bit extreme with raw onions, and this dish proved no exception. But, I just scraped away some pieces and devoured the rest, including the date sauce I meticulously scraped-up with my spoon. I’m still not sure I love their chowmein-ish crispy things, but the potatoes were fantastic.

The butter chicken in thali was rich and excellent. The flavor was perhaps subdued by dairy (not in a bad way), but could be augmented upon request. It was not oily. The cubed breast meat was tender and juicy, surprisingly. Sure, bone-in thigh meat could have been better, but cubed meat has its advantages, particularly when eating out.

The lamb curry was good, but not magical like Zayeqa (though the former may in general be more consistent than the latter place). The spinach and cheese palak paneer featured a custom spice blend, making this dish all it can be. The bread and rice were fine. When ordering, I was offered several disparate choices of breads, some base and some premium. While I liked mine, I’ll probably choose another bread next time, particularly after seeing the pics on facebook. Wow!

The desserts also smacked of TLC. One enabler of the care allocated to each dish is that the menu is focused, and doesn’t try to be a national food tour of India and all that country’s “greatest hits.” Closes at 6pm Sunday and is not open on Mondays. I’m really curious to get others’ takes on this place, but I warn you that you may very well run into me there :-)

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  1. I am on a curry kick at the moment (Chana Masala for dinner tonight) and just got the highly recommended 660 curries cookbook yesterday. I am off to Puhlkari tomorrow to give it a go and get some tasty leftovers as well. Thanks for the lead VTB.

    P.S. Rainsux, I am considering proposing Indian/Pak/Hakka for the next group outing but there is an interesting underlying disdain for the lazy susan style of serving on the Indian food websites. A cultural bias I don't understand obviously.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goatgolfer

      gg- I thought you would like this thread on 660 curries and didn't want you to miss it.

      I'm going to order it from my library. I do like the indiansimmers blog, I make the tikka masala way tooooo much! I just did a food swap in Tucson, where I traded the tikka masala spice kits. Food swapping was fun, someone should start it in DTW!

    2. Based on VTB's subdued review, I gave Punjabi kitchen a go for lunch today. Very clean and bright interior. Friendly counter welcome and I had the thali special on the 7 container classic plate (maybe novice but it's a cool thing on its own). Spinach and cheese palak paneer (chicken) was very flavorful and the sauce on rice got me to clean the bowl. The lamb curry was really lamb rather than mutton and was a bit short on magic for me. I had the dahl for my third dish and it was also not very special.

      The meat thali is $10 with naan and some terrific ( i mean really, really good) rice. Mango pickle, a yogurt mix/sauce and guava sweet with three meat dishes. I think next time I will have to give the vegetarian a stronger go as I hope that is their specialty ($8). Still a very clean and reasonable Punjabi that was half full on Sunday 1pm can't be all bad.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goatgolfer

        GG, you like Indian pickles? Good man. Hard core.

      2. I called Phulkari Punjabi Kitchen to confirm they will have goat curry on the menu for Wed 3 Oct 2012. They confirmed they will but not on the thali plate special (a la carte). I'm there for lunch with my Windsor friend and plan to get a portion for lunch and another to go. Will report back. We're there at 12 noon if anyone wants to join.

        2 Replies
        1. re: goatgolfer

          Oh, might find it a bit more difficult tomorrow than originally expected. Metro Times did their review of this place for the new issue, so all the early risin' readers might be drawn toward you folks.

          Normally I'd throw my lot in with you, but I'm taking Donna out for lunch tomorrow at Weekday Cafe, so that's where I'll be. Hope PPK is as good as touted!

          1. re: goatgolfer

            The goat curry was terrific with both nan and rice. Very rich and succulent. Their was no gravy left in any of the three dishes at our table and we could have eaten more.

          2. We tried PPK for dinner last night. We were very impressed. None of the seasoning was dumbed-down, and the flavors were vibrant and interesting.

            I usually have low expectations for chicken korma, but theirs was tasty and tender throughout. The lamb curry was very good as well.

            We both felt that the outstanding dish in our thalis was the mattar paneer aloo. It had a great texture, a nice "burn", and popped with flavor.

            PPK is definitely one of our "destination" restaurants, now, despite being over an hour from home.

            1. As I type this, I am cooking up a chicken korma; I'm cheating a little as I'm using a Shan spice mix (with a couple of adjustments)!

              Again, based upon the above comments, seems like a good candidate for a meet!

              Indo-Pak, for the record, was my go-to place for samosas! Recommended to me by a Punjabi friend, I could not go wrong; definitely was the best in town.

              4 Replies
              1. re: motorfamilymotorcity

                I like the place, and I like get togethers. But IMO it may not be special enough to warrant an organized get together. I could be persuaded otherwise, though. I suppose.

                1. re: VTB

                  Was Zayeqa special enough, VTB? Define the parameters of "special", please. ;)

                  1. re: boagman

                    :-) Yes, Zayeqa was unique enough where everyone would feel like it was worth it, particulary for those prices (even though prices have gone up, and not every single thing was good). Not sure if PPK would stand out (even though I liked it). Now, if they served up a special thali for group night, that may be a different story!